back to article Fish snapped snacking at 4,200 fathoms

An international team of marine scientists has obtained "absolutely amazing footage" of fish feeding at a hadal 7,700 metres down in the Pacific Ocean's Japan Trench. The snail fish caught feeding at 7,700m The group of snail fish, (Limparidae), were caught on camera (see pic) "attacking bait at 7703 metres" by a submersible …


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  1. Waggers

    Japanese research vessel

    You mean, they took a break from whaling to do some actual research?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up



  3. Neil Greatorex
    IT Angle

    1600 Elephants on the roof of a mini

    Would have no effect whatsoever if the pressure inside the mini was equal.

    You can blow up a party balloon to the size of a football at sea level, you can also do the same at 35,000 feet. The problem comes when you move between the two.

  4. Mick


    Not everyone in Japan is a whaler...

    The Hadeep project, which began in 2007, is a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab and the University of Tokyo's Ocean Research Institute (Ori) and aims to expand our knowledge of biology in the deepest depths of the ocean.

    It is funded by the Nippon Foundation and the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc).

  5. Michael

    Elephants on Mini

    Is this a new addition to the El Reg measurement standard?

  6. adnim


    "In case you're wondering what kind of pressure they're under, it's equivalent to "1,600 elephants on the roof of a Mini"."

    or the average couch potato on a remote control.

  7. Mick
    Thumb Up

    to see the video...

    follow this...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Units of measurement ?

    How many "'1600 elephants on the roof or a mini" should I pump by bike tyres up to ?

    More seriously, why is everything measured in elephants and football fields these days ? Whatever happened to good old SI units ?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1600 Elephants on the roof of a mini

    African or Indian?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC : Units of measurement?

    So if the roof of a mini is the size of a football pitch how many elephants do we need now?

    And I might find that number hard to imagine so to make it easier, how many elephants would it then take to fill Wembley Stadium as I understand that measurement... :)

  11. Paul McConkey

    @ Units of measurement

    Well, sea water at about 1 kg/l means that the pressure rises about 100 gf/cm2 for each metre of depth, so 10 m is about 1 kgf/cm2 which is about 1 bar.

    Therefore 1600 elephants/mini roof = 770 bar.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Those aren't fish -- they're bleached tadpoles!

  13. Nigel

    Interesting to note...

    At this depth the pressure is such that compressed air is denser than water. Now, work out why our deep oceans are not floating on top of a layer of highly compressed air.

  14. Sacha TF Padovani

    Yeah, but

    what sort of Mini?

    Mk I ? II? Cooper? Cooper S? An Austin? A Morris? a BMW Mini? Or even (gasp! ) a John Cooper Works GP something?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    OK, I'll take a stab at it: because the air would be absorbed by the water and carried away?

  16. Tony Barnes

    Aye, pressure is irrelevant...

    Imagine if you will what those fish would think of our incredibly low level pressure existance, would blow their tiny little minds....

    @ Nigel - erm, the air is in solution in the water, not present in gaseous form, hence lack of issue... I guess. Any video footage of bubbles sinking anywhere!?!?!

  17. Matt Bradley


    Because the water is also compressed, and therefore has more mass?

    I dunno. Is this a trick question?

  18. TimM

    4200 fathoms... pah!

    That's only 1.38 leagues under the sea.

    Come back when they find life at 20,000 leagues ;-) *

    But seriously though, 4200 fathoms is 7.6km which is pretty deep (considering Everest is just below 9km high). Still some way to go though as the deepest point is 11km.

    * - yeah, I know. Verne's book didn't refer to the depth, but the journey travelled. Ah well.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Re:Interesting to note

    probably because no one has bothered to stick a dirty great big pipe down to the bottom of each ocean and fill the sea bed with compressed air.

    Would make the Handron experiments look like pants though, granted.

    BTW I've got a John Cooper Works GP special and it's had at leat 2000 elephants on its roof in the last fortnight.

  20. Mark


    I... I don't know!

  21. Simon

    Those elephants . . .

    Would they be unladen elephants?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    they are, but it's only about 0.5 mm thick (give or take), so until this point only i knew about it.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paul Mc

    Fresh water is 1 kg/l. Sea water depending on where you are is around 1.04 kg/l.

    Surely the pressure quoted should have been in jubs/nanowales anyway.

  24. TJ


    ...Why are there 1600 Elephants and a Mini on the bottom of the ocean?

    My Guess -

    The Mini = A James Bond stunt gone totally awry

    The Elephants = We took all their land up here, so they migrated, and grew gills?

    Further more, I doubt 1600 Elephants humping a mini is appropriate journalistic comparison.

    Coat, hat, and pirates. Because Well, mateys

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    1600 Elephants on the roof of a mini ...

    "... would have no effect whatsoever if the pressure inside the mini was equal."

    Wow man you're blowing my mind. So if there are 1600 elephants inside the mini too, then it's like an elephant free zone man. Far out.

    Seriously, please stop with the pounds, inches, gallons, cwts, bus wheels, elephants, football pitches and just use proper SI units.

    I remember reading a story in one of the tabloids years ago where the original information was peppered with weights in kg. The journo, mindful that a kg would be a strange and fearful unit for his readers, but unsure how to convert it to the traditional British lb, had changed every kg to 'bag of sugar'. Strange but true.

  26. Kristian Nilssen

    Whoopty fuckin doo

    Geez, wow, amazing - fish that swim!!!! Give that guy another grant so he can carry on the good work. Who would have thought that thing shaped like fish, smell like fish and taste like fish would SWIM like fish! Amazing.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I think it is a tribute... the work mathematics has done for us that elephant-mini experimentation could be abandoned and theoretical ele-math could take its place.

    Oh and 1600 elephants on a mini as a statement of pressure = 1.6 kilophants per square clubman

  28. Thomas Baker

    1,600 elephants on the roof of a mini?

    That's no so much. Mini's are quite strong you know. I once tried to get my starter motor off after it'd been caked in shit from the road for 20 years, and would that thing budge? 1,600 elephants or not, some things on a mini are the immovable object. Don't know about the roof though... The fish'd be alright if they were inside listening to the radio I would think though, no? There'd probably be room for them to squidge in the nooks and crannies as the roof caved in. They might die from being out of the water though... Not sure this was all that well thought through.

    Got coat, wore coat, flew.

  29. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    @ Units of measurement?

    "So if the roof of a mini is the size of a football pitch how many elephants do we need now?"

    1 Tuskerena.

  30. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Prove it!

    Make a 6km tube with internal dimensions to match the roof of a mini. Stand the tube vertically in a deep part of the ocean. Put a mini-roof in the end of the tube, seal the edges and pile on a large supply of elephants until the roof is pushed down to the far end of the tube.

    Provide photographic evidence or admit that that this 1600 elephants theory is wild speculation.

  31. Graham Lockley

    @Kristian Nilssen

    >Who would have thought that thing shaped like fish, smell like fish and taste like fish would SWIM like fish!

    Sorry mate but I was highly impressed by the video. Yeah they are pretty unimpressive compared to a lot of other creatures (yeah I thought bleached tadpoles as well) but when you consider the depth/temperature they are working at then its a beautiful piece of film.

    Lets hope this project brings more of these scenes back, maybe all those sad Virgin space tourists could be convinced to pay for a trip with a real purpose.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Units ?

    Please can we stick to standard units - what is this is Wales please ?

    Though whales might be more appropriate.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Those aren't fish -- they're bleached tadpoles!

    Well in that case, I for one welcome our new Frog like underlords...

  34. Anonymous Coward

    hypno-toad larvae?

    that is all...

  35. Andrew Pearson
    Thumb Up

    Where is the video of the elephants?

    Sod the fish, I want to see the video of the 1,600 elephants driving the car with the other 1,600 elephant display team performing on its top!

  36. Frumious Bandersnatch


    I think you may have made some mistake with your figure of 1.6 megaelephants per mini roof. You seem to have made the mistake of assuming that the elephant's weight is distributed evenly over the entire roof surface rather than being transmitted over a few square feet (well, round feet, actually, but I digress). Also, an elephant at 24,000 fathoms would have positive buoyancy, don't ya know...

  37. TeeCee Gold badge

    Scientific method?

    They were expecting sedentary solitary fish and found active communal fish.

    Is this a) because said fish are actually active and communal or b) because said fish happened to rapidly congregate around the new, unexpected free food source that was chucked in to attract them.


  38. Mike Hunt

    Elephants as a measure of "strength"

    I am still waiting with baited breath for them to "prove" the structural integrity of the curved roof of the new office development next to where I work. In their early construction flyer they said the roof was strong enough to take the weight of several hundred elephants, a feat which we want to see happen (not that there is much chance of several hundred paciderms congregating in the middle of Birmingham). There are several logistical quandries - how will the elephants get up there in the first place? Is that weight equivalent a static pressure, or will the elephants be allowed to move? Anyway we are still waiting for the long line of Billy Smarts circus lorries to pull up and to hear the thundering roar of elephant trumpeting.....just nobody release a mouse !!

  39. John Sykes

    SI Units?

    OK: Elephants/mini roof is now the layman's "understandable" unit of pressure: I therefore propose the depth is measured in acres/light-year.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    @African or Indian?

    but the african is non-migratory, and therefore is unlikely to be found at -24000 ft.

    Would the elephants be strung together on a strand of creeper held under the guiding dorsal feathers?

  41. Tom


    Because there would have to be a vessel employed to get the air compressed and under the water in the first place, the air would also have to cover the area globe and the sea be at a constant pressure IE, level sea beds and water depth.

  42. Lotaresco
    IT Angle

    Where's the IT angle

    ... in a story about scum-sucking bottom feeders who never see the light of day and who have to work under immense pressure while crap drops from above?

  43. Peter Mellor

    Re Interesting to note, by Nigel

    By Matt Bradley Posted Tuesday 7th October 2008 17:19 GMT (@Nigel):


    Because the water is also compressed, and therefore has more mass?

    I dunno. Is this a trick question?


    Water is not compressible, not even if 1600 elephants stand on it!

  44. Anonymous Coward

    @ac - units?

    yeah, but if this was wales, we would have to be measuring in sheep on a shingle

  45. Nigel
    Thumb Up

    @AC, Matt, etc.

    Yes, you guys got it. The air would dissolve in the water quite fast. Smart people around here.

    I've always wanted to see a video of bubbles sinking, but it would be expensive and somewhat dangerous to obtain the footage. You'd have to get a cylinder of even more compressed air down there, and release it. On second thoughts it would probably look exactly the same as ordinary bubbles at lesser depth rising, but with your screen upside-down.

  46. adnim

    @AC, Matt, Nigel etc.

    A video of bubbles sinking may not be available, but Micheal Jackson might have a video of Bubbles going down.

    OK, I'll get my coat.

  47. Matty B

    Offical units of measurements and rules.

    If I may cite some old articles about news on El Reg...



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